Today I have a guest post from my good friend, I will call her ‘2 Kids No Formula‘ on how her decision to Breastfeed affected her as a new mum. Her 2 sprogs are now 7 and 4. Over to you 2KNF: *Hands over imaginary microphone*
“I found myself in that camp… where you eat moss and breastfeed…..
Did you ever realise that by having a baby you were going to make huge statements about your parenting orientation? No, me neither. I thought you’d whip this baby out and watch on lovingly while it grew up. Oh boy, how wrong I was. I fall into a very elite camp!
I am a hypnobirthing, breastfeeding, baby led weaning, front sleeping goddess who laboured for three days on no drugs. When I walk along the street my children glow full of my antibodies, a huge sign in neon lights above my head lights the moonlit after bedtime sky ‘hippy mother’. For miles around I am called upon to give my opinion on nipples and flow and whether your darling baby is getting enough milk, because I made it to that golden 1 year mark. But do you know… still no fucking medal in the post 7 years down the line!!!! I initially lap up the glory when we hit that emotive subject in the soft play, in-between shifting my darling child from one knee to the other so I can strain my teabag with one hand without shooting it across the table and scalding all the babies crawling around my feet; all because my sodding child wont actually venture into the soft child size boot camp.
Three other lovely mummies who I have found on my circuit of the baby classes sit round the table eagerly awaiting my input – how the hell did I make it to a year breastfeeding without my nipples dropping off??? Errr I don’t know… I basically persevered because I would rather my nipples dropped off in bed than actually crawl out of bed and venture downstairs waiting for bottles to ping in the microwave then spend 5 minutes cooling them under a freezing tap (this is pre Perfect Prep machine – like what the hell, has the inventor of this only just left school? All the inventors before him need to be sacked I think).
My story doesn’t have a very earth mother ring to it, and the three other mums smell weakness and pull rank on me, stating how unhappy their kids were until they shoved a bottle in their mouths. I am left feeling like a hippy again, one that starved my kids of thick yummy milk. But here’s the mental bit…. No matter your feeding orientation they still bloody alive, go figure!!!!
The problem with me is, I will do what I want, no health visitor pushing me to breast feed or lactation specialist being my best mate for the first month of my life will sway me, if my nipples had dropped off, that bottle would have been in my baby’s mush in a shot, but they didn’t.
My boobs however look like death, but I am planning to have enough children to save the money on formula to get them perked up a bit by a nice doctor….. and In that case I will take the drugs!!!”
For me, it was very different: I started by breastfeeding all 3 of my babies, but only for 3, 2 and 6 weeks respectively. I honestly found breastfeeding the worst part of having a baby. The pain from feeding was FAR worse than the pain of late pregnancy, childbirth, and recovering from third degree tears and infections afterwards (that’s a whole other post!)
With my first I had mastitis early on from a bad latch, really sore nipples because I didn’t know how to prevent it or help it, and I was too young/shy/scared to ask for help. Second baby had oral thrush and we passed it back and forth until I was so sore I couldn’t do it anymore. Third baby I probably had really bad vasospasm/raynaulds (so my breastfeeding guru friend told me!) and pain when feeding, he had minor tongue tie but with MAJOR pain. It was all over Christmas time and I didn’t want to ask for help, I thought he was my third baby I should bloody know better by now. I really enjoyed breastfeeding, the closeness the bond… but I just sucked at it. By 8 weeks all 3 of my babies were solely formula fed. I felt awful at first, but then I saw them thrive and develop and I’m happy with that. I still feel passionately about breastfeeding, but I just think every mum and baby experience it totally differently, no 2 babies or mums are the same. So I just say, feed your baby however you feed it, as long as it’s not Greggs sausage rolls (yet).
What are your experiences of the big Breast vs Formula? Did you find judgement from the way you fed your baby?